They’re right at home in the depths of New Zealand’s harsh alpine wilderness, and have scaled some of the most difficult rock and ice faces you can find. They may seem like ordinary Kiwis, but the members of the New Zealand Alpine Team are elite mountaineers that take on adventures that are nothing short of extraordinary – and it’s all in the name of mentoring the next generation of alpinists.
The New Zealand Alpine Team (NZAT) is made up of renowned climbers who routinely venture into some of the world’s harshest alpine zones, tackling some of the most difficult climbs. These pictures say it all – their adventures are awe-inspiring – whether they’re climbing up vertical rock faces and ice walls or sleeping in portaledges suspended hundreds of metres off the ground.
The team was set up in 2013 by highly experienced climbers Daniel Joll, Ben Dare and Steve Fortune and a team of mentors, with the goal of establishing a mentorship programme for up-and-coming Kiwi alpinists. In doing so, they have helped a group of young climbers to learn valuable skills and knowledge.
The NZAT programme takes up to six applicants every three years, and during this time, these eager students are given intensive training, with expeditions around the world to further expand their climbing skills alongside the guidance of some of New Zealand’s most experienced climbers. So far, they’ve travelled to the Canadian Rockies, Yosemite, Alaska and South America.
“We’re onto our second intake now, and it’s been incredibly rewarding seeing young climbers achieving goals they didn’t think would be within reach so soon. We’ve all learned a lot from one another, and even the mentors have grown as teachers in the process. What’s been particularly good to see, is the networks these guys have been able to build up – the programme gives members access to an instant pool of skilled climbing partners, and these relationships might otherwise take many years to develop,” says mentor Daniel Joll.
Macpac has been working alongside the internationally-renowned team since 2013, partnering with them to reinvent alpine gear. Our Alpine Series is the culmination of this partnership – a journey that has extended from the design floor, to testing and refinement on some of the world’s harshest alpine routes. The result is a premium range of super lightweight, pared-back apparel and equipment, delivering only what climbers need – and nothing they don’t.
“The Alpine Series has allowed us to work alongside skilled Kiwi designers who understand the harshness and challenges of the environments we venture into. The real key with this range is that we’ve built a clothing system where each product, from the pack to the base layers compliments the other items in the range. This means that these products can work together better – keeping you warmer and, most importantly – saving you on weight – a critical factor,” says Daniel.
Macpac is proud to partner with the New Zealand Alpine Team, supporting them as they mentor the next generation of young Kiwi alpinists, and helping us to deliver our premium technical Alpine Series.